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April 30, 2007

Deconstructing Ellas, Deconstructing Bloodlines

Discovered two quotes that brought into focus, what I have been struggling with since Mama’s passing last November. How is it that now that Mama is gone that I feel disconnected from being Greek? My DNA remains the same but the intangible connection to my extended family - especially family that lives overseas or across Canada - has weakened. With Mama gone, the phone has stopped ringing and the only Greek I hear is at Church on Sunday or on the CD’s we brought home with us from our trip last May.

Something to think about as I revise the chapters that deal with Magda’s physical journey to Greece.

I was family. But I was more than that. I was family from across the ocean. I was stranger family. I was unGreek family. In me, to them, lay mysteries covered over by my silence. I was as mysterious as an idiot or as a child before he can speak.

- Daphne Atlas, Greece by Prejudice

The only Greece I could believe in was the Greece I knew. Greece was downstairs in our house in Rye, as I sat by the banister on the second floor, watching the people in our living room, listening to their babel of words and laughter. Greece was downstairs on a Sunday night, while upstairs in America, I answered questions in my workbook before going to bed.

- Elias Kulukundis, The Feasts of Memory: A Journey to a Greek Island



As with many writers of the diaspora, my understanding of Greece comes from excavating and recreating my family’s past.


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say logo: egg magazine

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After struggling for months to come up with an appropriate logo for egg magazine , I have finally settled on a design and typeface.

Now comes the hard part: the execution.

Rusty from not using Macromedia Freehand since last summer, I have to re-learn this program and figure out an appropriate colour scheme (if any). I want the graphic element of the logo to look hand-drawn and convey a sense of fun. We writers have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously.

Open to suggestions.

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April 29, 2007

List #13 - Unconscious Mutterings

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I say and you think …

  1. Order :: Natural
  2. Mortician :: Six Feet Under
  3. deadfeet.jpg

  4. Determine :: Discover
  5. Ignore :: Neglect
  6. Guy :: Fawkes
  7. Crush ::
  8. Garlic :: “the stinking rose”
  9. Wacky :: Eccentric
  10. Parent :: Authority
  11. Burning :: Desire

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Sunday Seven # 6 - Snapshot of EM at 21 mos.

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A weekly meme for giving thanks and/or for noting important events in our lives.

EM will be two years old soon. My miracle baby is turning into a miraculous, independent, adoring little girl. EM’s gift of love is my greatest blessing and treasure. Her laughter brightens my day and warms my heart. These photos were taken within the last two weeks.

1. EMcloseup.jpg

2. EMwithcat.jpg

3. EMCacheoutfit.jpg

4. EMGapOutfit.jpg

5. EMandFreezie.jpg

6. EMheadband.jpg

7. EMwithXine2.jpg

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April 26, 2007

Introducing: Magda

At 21, I travelled alone through Greece and Turkey. Paying the student rate of 5,000 drachmas for a 24-hour bus ride north through Greece to Turkey, I spent one week in Istanbul taking in everything from the spice market to hagia Sofia.

For a city that gave birth the soulful Rebetika songs I’d grown up with, I wanted to hear the angular rhythms and melodies of the bahglama and clarinet in coffeehouses. I discovered a sprawling industrial city, veiled in a gray fog, where everyone drank chai the color of rabbit’s blood. At every street corner,
merchants offered to sell me carpets, leather jackets, gold and souvenirs made in China.

After one week I wanted something more familiar, a place uninterrupted by Muezzin’s prayers: a welcoming beach, a Greek salad and fresh horiatiko bread. I took another bus from Istanbul south to Izmir, down to the harbor at Bodrum and boarded the first ferry to Kos.

At the port, I was engulfed by a sea of short, round, middle-aged women dressed in black who wanted me to room with them. After negotiating a reasonable rate with Kyra Maria, I followed her through narrow streets to a white washed home. My room had little adornment and housed a simple cot, a wicker chair, and a small table. The room’s only light source: a large window.

At eye-level, this window looked into her courtyard paved with cobblestones, their borders outlined with white paint. Immense clay pots housed immaculately shaped basil and pepper plants. The scent of Kyra Maria’s night-flowering jasmine found its way into my room each night like incense wafting from a priest’s censor.

I quickly developed a routine, following a rhythm as cyclical as the tide. The island’s ubiquitous roosters would wake me at dawn. I’d go for a swim before the regular tourists with all their trappings and gadgets arrived. On my walk back from the beach, I’d sit and chat with the smiling young waiter, Georgios, at the nearby taverna. My breakfast was always the same, a big bowl of yogurt with honey and walnuts followed by watermelon and Greek coffee. Afterwards, I’d drag my chair to the edge of the restaurant to sketch the beach activity for hours on end.

Georgios was handsome in the way many Greek men are handsome. His brown eyes were filled with an incredible sadness and his slightly stooped shoulders made him look like he carried the weight of centuries on his back. Like every Greek man I’ve met, with the exception of my father and grandfather, Georgios smoked.

Every once in a while, I’d rip a couple of pages out of my sketchbook, stuff them in an envelope and mail these letters of love home to my worried parents.

In the stillness before nightfall, fly-blacked priests with long beards and longer robes would follow the labyrinthine alleys through olive groves to homes of Saints. In the distance, donkeys brayed agitated by the wistful church bells calling, calling the women in black for evening vespers.

On one such evening after the sun had set I found myself at Georgios’ taverna — a welcome guest at an impromptu gathering. There were lights strung up in the trees, the smell of lamb piercing the warm night air and the unmistakable clinking of glasses. I was drawn to the laughter, the familiar sounds. Finally, Greek music. The same music my parents played throughout my childhood on scratched and worn out vinyl 45’s. I was trying to pour down a glass of coke with brandy. Georgios with his tousled hair, cigarette dangling from his lips was smiling at me.

Amerikanaki no drink good.
I’m Canadian.

He shrugged, picked up my glass, made a blurred toast to me and finished my drink. Then in a scene directly out of Zorba the Greek he turned to me and said: Do you dance?

I found myself barefoot up on a table, Georgios by my side, dancing. Tsiftendeli. I looked out into the admiring sea of men. A sharp fleeting moment of fear. I was the only female. The women were all at church. Praying. Only me, the Amerikanaki, Magda. Belly Dancing. The men in the crowd were encouraging me and we were all singing:

Anapse to Tsigaro
Thos mou fotia
Exo megalo kefi mes ti kardia.

He pulled me against him. I felt capable of anything. I wanted to take off my clothes and chase him through the crowds up to the small peak of this rocky town.

Aman.
Aman.
Aman.

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Blogthings: the new fortune cookie

You Should Be A Poet
You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways.
And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery…
Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever.
You’re already naturally a poet, even if you’ve never written a poem.

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April 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 10 - Cows on Parade

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Milk the cow, but do not pull off the udder. ~Greek Proverb

Almost a year later, I have begun organizing the 1,702 photos we took during our European Adventure last May. We were in Greece during the launch of the Cow Parade art installation. This public exhibition in Athens featured 77 sculptures and ran from May through September 2006.

For this week’s Thursday Thirteen, I bring you 13 of my favourite images:

1. 168829090_3af7f79b20.jpg

2. 194694417_c80b4bd185.jpg

3. anorexianervosa.jpg

4. blackandfushia.jpg

5. butterflies.jpg

6. cowllywood.jpg

7. evzone.jpg

8. flowerpots.jpg

9. greekmyth.jpg

10. stockexchange.jpg

11. green floral.jpg

12. DSC_8828-big.jpg

13. DSC_8598-big.jpg


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28 Days

According to the manufacturer Palmers Slim Fit 20 Tights

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will improve skin elasticity, burn fat and reduce the appearance of cellulite on your thighs. The Austrian company tells us that in order to achieve these miraculous results, the tights need to be worn daily for 28 days. And, the tights “embedded with caffeine micro capsules” can be washed up to five times before they lose their effectiveness.

Don’t know about you, but I’d rather get my caffeine fix the old fashioned way, by drinking it!

For more info, go to Tights Please.


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April 24, 2007

Tip toe through the Chu Lips . . .

Music videos like this one make me nostalgic for Japan:

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Snapshot of Mama at 24

When my mother was twenty-four years old and working as a nanny in Athens, she traveled to the island of Tinos, on March 25, to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation. In the Greek Church, this is the most extraordinary event in human history: the Incarnation of God.

Having lost her father at such an early age meant that Mama had no dowry; her choices for a husband were limited, so my mother focused all her maternal longings on becoming a Godparent.

The cathedral in Tinos and the surrounding monastery is dedicated to the Theotokos. For hundreds of years, Christian pilgrims have made the journey to venerate the sacred icon housed within its walls. And on this Aegean Island, protected by the veil of God, miracles are commonplace events.

During this special day, it is difficult to get more than a few minutes in front of this wondrous Icon, as there are hundreds upon hundreds of people squished together like sardines, vying for their private, distinct moment with the Mother of God.

It is a mysterious depiction: on the surface it is like any other icon comprised of wood and paint, and yet there is something intangible that warrants a second look. It is the warmth and authenticity of the message that draws the devout back. It is easy to identify with the young Mary and the complexities of her situation. She cannot understand how she can bear a child but in total obedience she accepts the Divine Decree. In that moment, she recognizes the probable consequence for herself – the scandal, the disgrace, perhaps even death. Still, Mary gives herself up completely.

annuncia01.jpg


Much like my grandmother before her, my mother kneeled before the Mother of God and prayed:

Please, my beloved Theotokos, only you know why I have traveled all this way, only you know the longing. Please do not turn me away empty-handed. Bless and untie my hands. Help me baptize a young child.

It was then that my mother felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around and saw a blonde-haired young girl, no more than thirteen, dressed in black smiling at her. The young girl addressed my mom:

Listen carefully, I know why you came. You came to baptize. In a few moments you will see a woman dressed in black enter the church. She will be carrying a two-year-old girl in her arms and heading for the altar. Be ready as there are others here, waiting for the same opportunity.

It is then that my mother notices a young widow carrying a small child and heading towards the altar. Somehow, Mama found the strength to push through the throngs of people. She reached the altar just as the mother was getting ready to dedicate her toddler to the Virgin Mary.

“Ya Vaptisma, for Baptism”, my mother asks. The woman nods. All my mother remembers of the Church service after that moment is the sea of men, women, children, cantors and deacons, ecstatically shouting Panta Aksia, Panta Aksia, Panta Aksia ~ Ever Worthy.

At the end of the Baptismal Service, when my mother asks the young woman if she has another child, perhaps another daughter around twelve or thirteen years of age, the answer is no.

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April 22, 2007

List # 12 - Unconscious Mutterings

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  1. Found :: Locally
  2. Male :: Models
  3. Spoken :: Word
  4. Life :: Line
  5. Tonight :: Today
  6. Fingernail :: Manicure
  7. True :: Beauty
  8. Give up :: Surrender
  9. Shining :: Star
  10. Everywhere :: Nowhere


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I say and you think?

Your responses must begin with the first letter of your name… Not as easy as it sounds.

I say and you think?

Famous Musician: Chopin

3 letter word: Cap

Street name: Comox

Color: Chartreuse

Vehicle: Cabriolet

TV Show: Cops

City: Calgary

Boy Name: Charles

Girl Name: Charlotte

Alcoholic Drink: Champagne

Occupation: Communications Specialist

Flower: Chrysanthemum

Celebrity: Charo

Famous Leader: Churchill

Toy: Crayons

Animal: Chameleon

Food: Croissants

Something found in a kitchen: Cleaver

Reason for Being Late: Conflicting appointments

Something You Throw Away: Charred food

Cartoon Character: Casper the friendly ghost

Type of desert: Cheesecake

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April 17, 2007

blogtopsites.com register

Literature Blogs - Blog Top Sites

Just because I have to register … and am stuck with a navy blue utilitarian button, doesn’t mean that I can’t give you something pretty to look at:

Bohemian Thelma Todd.jpg

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April 16, 2007

Literary Shift - May 5, 2007

It’s official - I am one of eight writers participating in the Victoria School of Writing’s ~

SHIFT: LITERARY EXPLORATIONS

What do you get when you cross a pride of writers with an art gallery, some cupcakes and a bunch of typewriters? You’re invited to find out by attending VSW’s exciting new public program, Shift: Literary Explorations.

We’d love to see you there.

Here are the details:

Saturday, May 5 | 7-10pm

Open Space | 510 Fort St.

Fun & Games: Prize wall, insta-lit for a toonie, cheap libations, free cupcakes & pretzels, luminous special guests and general shenanigans!

Where are we?

Eight writers give their take on the current state of their genre, including:

• Meg Braem (playwrighting)

• M.A.C. Farrant (literary non-fiction)

• Bill Gaston (fiction)

• David Leach (literary journalism)

• Sylvia Olsen (young adult fiction)

• Steven Price (poetry)

• Erin Robinsong (spoken word)

• Christine Stefanitsis (blogging)

Convergence: Discussion and Q&A

Tickets: $12 at the door or $10 in advance
Buy them at The Papery, 669 Fort St. Advance tickets recommended.

For more info visit the Victoria School of Writing Blog , or print out your own groovy pink poster (pdf) here.

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April 15, 2007

Christine needs her own reality show

This meme has been making the rounds on several of the websites I visited, so I decided to play along. We’ve all used Google to see what our alter egos are up too.

For this version, you plug in your name in the search bar along with “needs” and then post your results.

Below are some of my favourites:

Christine needs to stop looking at clothes.

• Christine needs a personal assistant.

• Christine needs to go back and read some of her earlier books, and remember what made them great.

• Christine needs a couple of quiet days just resting.

• Surrounded by men, Christine needs some sort of female support system.

• Christine needs her own reality show.

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List # 11 - Unconscious Mutterings

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I say … and you think … ?

  1. Freeze :: Dried
  2. Naturally :: Occurring
  3. Painting :: Frescoes
  4. Merits :: Consideration
  5. Ironic :: Expression
  6. Survival :: Darwinism
  7. Cow :: Udder
  8. Anchor :: Chain
  9. Sisters :: Cloister
  10. 70 :: Pentagonal Number

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April 14, 2007

Sunday Seven # 5 - Paying Attention

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A weekly meme for giving thanks and/or for noting important events in our lives.

It’s often the simplest things that give us the most pleasure. This week’s Sunday Seven is about paying attention and acknowledging people and things that make a difference in my world.


  1. Each morning, my husband gets up, takes a shower first and then heads down to make coffee and prepare breakfast for our household. That means that I have 20 extra minutes all to myself in the morning to check my e-mail (both work and personal). The 20 minutes alone time allows me to gather my thoughts for the day.

  2. Our lovely live-in nanny takes such good care of our little chicken. She’s patient, funny and kind. In the 10 months she’s been living with us, she’s become a valued member of our family. University educated, with a strong Christian upbringing, she’s teaching EM how to read, count, sing and clean up around the house. While I struggle with being a working mom, I know we made the right choice with our nanny and EM is getting the best care available.

  3. My book-club has entered its fifth year. I am one of a group of 10 dynamic, charming, entertaining, smart women. Our monthly book club meetings have been a life-preserver for many of us. It’s a place we go to discuss good books - but also - life, God and the universe. 6 of the 10 women now have young families and we’ve collectively dealt with: births, deaths, illnesses, job losses, marriages, relationship issues, promotions, demotions, graduate classes and body issues (weight loss and gains).

  4. My job. I work in the public sector and get paid well to make a difference for the province. My co-workers are all extremely capable and talented and while there are some challenging days, overall I look forward to going to work.

  5. Our home. It’s comfortable, welcoming, warm with all modern conveniences. We were bathing EM last night and that’s when our nanny disclosed that the home she grew up in doesn’t have hot water or central heat.

  6. Our weekly Friday night dinners with friends. Our weekly dinners started when I was pregnant and on house arrest, due to my complicated pregnancy. Housebound meant no social life, so we started organizing Friday night dinners with our friends (potluck) so that I could have a bit of company. Well it’s now become a tradition. We never wonder what we’re going to do on a Friday evening as our home is always full of good food and great company. Last night was no exception, with 3 couples (2 babies and 1 toddler) and a gourmet meal (including a decadent desert.)

  7. My writing, writing blog and Little Chick Press. Enough said.


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For Bert, Marg and Mama

Moved by the obituary listed in today’s National Post, I decided to post their love story here. Having witnessed the mental decline of my beloved Mama during these last few years, this obituary brought up so many unresolved emotions.

May the memories of Bert, Marg and Mama be eternal.

BERTRAM GEORGE DAY 1918 - 2007

After the death of his beloved wife of 66 years, Marguerite, from pneumonia on February 18, 2007, Bert lost his own life 2 weeks later on March 3, 2007 in a catastrophic electrical fire which destroyed their home. Because of his short term memory loss, Bert could not remember that his beloved Marg had died only days before, and he was therefore constantly asking after her, only to be told repeatedly - and each time as if for the first time - that she had just died.

At 88, Bert was still very security minded, making sure the doors were locked, the lights off, the alarms on, and since he was on the ground floor and had built the house with several means of emergency egress, he could easily have escaped the fire. But, when the alarms went off, he woke to find that Marg was not in bed with him and, of course, he would not leave the house without her. Consequently he lost his own life in a family tragedy of Shakespearean proportions while looking to rescue her.

His wonderful Tibetan caregiver, Sonam Tso, risked her own life trying to save him but was beaten back by heat, smoke and flames. She then ran down the laneway to the neighbours in her pyjamas, cutting her bare feet on the ice, to make the 911 call at approximately 4:15 a.m. The Milton Fire Department were actually in action at the fire only 7 minutes later. The first firefighters on the scene found the house engulfed, but also risked their lives and breached protocol by fog-streaming their way into Bert’s bedroom - but he had gone looking for his Marg and was not there.

You can read the obituary in its entirety here.

The National Post’s columnist, Anne Marie Owens also wrote a story about Bert and Marg’s life:

Widower dies in fire searching for lost wife

Alzheimer’s disease; Husband installed safety devices to protect her

MILTON, Ont. - When his wife of more than six decades began showing the signs of memory loss and forgetfulness that would eventually become Alzheimer’s disease, Bert Day outfitted their home with all the safety measures required to help save her from herself.

He installed 16 smoke detectors, an intercom system and multiple fire extinguishers; he removed the matches, oil lamps and space heaters from the sprawling, one-of-a-kind home the pair had built on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment and lived in for 40 years.

But none of that helped Mr. Day when the house caught fire last month.

Even though his wife, Marguerite, had died from pneumonia two weeks earlier, Mr. Day, unable to take it in, kept forgetting that she was gone.

He kept asking after her, in the habit of a lifetime together, forever saying, “Where’s Marguerite?” and had to be told again and again — reacting each time as profoundly as the first time — that his much-loved wife was gone.

And so when a fire began in the middle of the night, and the alarms went off, he began wandering the hallways, likely searching for Marguerite, instead of making his escape from any of the doors located nearby.

Bert Day, 88, died in the electrical fire that destroyed his house in Milton, Ont., in what his son Rick Day describes as “a romantic tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.”

That such a final act of romance should be underpinned by Alzheimer’s and dementia has some resonance.

Go here for the complete details.

To find out more about Alzheimer’s Disease.

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April 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #9 - Lessons from Mom & Dad

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From my mother:

1. How to ward off the evil eye.
2. How to argue without saying a word.
3. How to dress well.
4. How to wear red lipstick.
5. To relish the pain that life sometimes brings as this makes you stronger, wiser and more resilient.
6. To always bring extra tissues in your handbag (they always come in handy).
7. Always wear clean underwear.
8. Speak first of the good characteristics in people (this makes you gracious).
9. How to make green beans (fasolakia), lentils (fa-kes) and stuffed tomatoes (yemista) ~ always use freshest of ingredients and make garlic your friend.
10. Always cross yourself when you leave the house or get into a car.
11. To say the Lord’s Prayer under my breath whenever I’m scared.
12. To ignore gossip and trust my instinct.
13. To pay attention to the world seen and unseen.


funeral monument.jpg


From my father:

1. To be a good storyteller.
2. To laugh out loud – everyday.
3. To be fearless and believe in myself.
4. To see the humor in the most tragic of circumstances.
5. That life can be beautiful and ugly at the same time because we are Greek.
6. To never say “poor me” and “if only.”
7. One day, I’ll be thankful for the piano and ballet lessons.
8. To be quick on my feet – and not just physically.
9. To choose a man who looks good in a tuxedo.
10. Always be the first one to apologize, as you never know tomorrow …
11. There’s no shame in hard work.
12. To never look at a price tag when purchasing clothes: if you love it and it’s well made – consider it an investment.
13. Always say “I love you” to those close to your heart; to say it often and with abandon.


fatherChild0504.jpg


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April 9, 2007

Poets on Vancouver Island for National Poetry Month


Poet(s): bill bissett, Isa Milman, Naomi Beth Wakan, Andrea Mackenzie, Margo Button

Name of Reading Series: Planet Earth Poetry
Date: April 6, 13, 20, 27, 2007
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Planet Earth Poetry at Black Stilt
1633 Hillside
Victoria, B.C.
(250) 370-2077
Cover: $3
Event Details: A special weekly National Poetry Month series featuring poets on each Friday evening throughout the month of April. For more info: http://planetearthpoetryatblackstilt.blogspot.com/


Poet(s): Wendy Morton, Barbara Pelman, Yvonne Blomer, Isa Milman, Carla Funk

Name of Reading Series: “Future (In) Tense”
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2007
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Victoria City Hall
1 Centennial Square
Victoria, BC
250-361-0571
Event Details: The poets will read works that relate to what the individual poets envision for the future of the Victoria region.


Poet(s): Susan Stenson, Isa Milman, Pamela Porter, Wendy Morton Yvonne Blomer

Name of Reading Series: Poetica Erotica
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2007
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Bean Around the World Coffee House 533 Fisgard Street Victoria, B.C.
250-381-3422
Cover: $7
Event Details: Three years ago, Wendy Morton organized a night of poetry for National Poetry Month called “Poetica Erotica”, and invited twenty or so poets from this very rich region of poets to compose a new erotic poem. It was well attended and full of water and chocolate and juicy poems. This event will feature poets reading on a similar topic.


Poet(s): Mostly Poets: Marieluisa Auterson, Louie Adell, Elizabeth Bartel, Sharon Tilton Urdahl

Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2007
Time: 2 p.m.
Venue: Courtenay Regional Library
300 - 6th Street
Courtenay, B.C
334-3369 ext. #3
Event Details: Poets and poetry lovers are invited to celebrate National Poetry Month as the Mostly Poets read personal poetry and host an open mic for others interested in reading their original work. A time limit will be in effect for open mic readers to allow everyone ample time to share their words. Mostly Poets hope that the “open mic” poets will bring a sampling of what they feel “poetry of the future” may sound like.

Poet(s): Mostly Poets: Marieluisa Auterson, Louie Adell, Elizabeth Bartel, Sharon Tilton Urdahl, Jan Bush, Vera Jensen, Katherine Kane, Judith Heron
Date: Saturday, April 28, 2007
Time: 7 p.m.
Venue: Campbell River Community Arts Council
2131 South Island Highway Campbell River, BC
(250)-923-0213
Event Details: This is the third and last event of National Poetry Month for the Mostly Poets group. They will be a reading at the Campbell River Arts Council, helping to celebrate the Campbell River Arts and Cultural Week. They will be hosting an open mic followed with a question and answer time.

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Sweet

Here’s what I look like as an M&M:

unsignedUser_756.unsignedChar_1176179383970.png

Create your own here.

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List #10 - Unconscious Mutterings

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I say … and you think … ?

  1. Freak :: Show :: “P.T. Barnum’s Great Travelling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Hippodrome”

    barnum_et_tom_pouce.jpg

    Photo of P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb


  2. Open :: Learning Agency

  3. Important :: Decision

  4. Magnetism :: Attraction

  5. Lap :: Dance :: Burlesque

  6. Anything :: But ordinary

  7. Match :: Tennis : : Wimbledon

  8. Father :: Daughter
    Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor

  9. Idea :: Concept

  10. Mirror :: Reflection

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April 8, 2007

Christos Anesti

Each Easter Sunday afternoon, when my grandmother was a little girl in Smyrna, she accompanied her mother to a special service held at the local cemetery in the Greek Quarter. The priest, having celebrated the Resurrection of Christ at the midnight liturgy with the living, would conduct an abbreviated liturgy in the cemetery chapel the following day.

At the conclusion of the service, the priest accompanied by a procession of acolytes and cantors would travel through the cemetery ecstatically singing Christos Anesti. Stopping by graves where family members stood, the priest proclaimed, Christ is risen! And the Greek chorus replied, Alithos Anesti, truly he is risen!

This procession, in a place normally associated with mourning and loss, triumphantly declared that agape not only survives death but transcends it.

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For Mama on Easter Sunday

Mama, I whisper, is that you there,
bent at the door,
darkening the lamp,
waiting for the bridegroom?

Is that you there
with your alabaster comb
piling my hair into a high black nest,
building a home for swallows?

Is that you there
washing the floor
with a mop made of tears?

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April 1, 2007

Sunday Seven # 4 - Our Chicken at 19 mos

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Sunday Seven is a thanks and gratitude meme designed for sharing the good things in our lives.

EM is our miracle child, our biggest blessing. Below are 7 of our most recent photos of our chicken in action.

1. There are two things that EM must always have with her: her favourite stuffed animal, a monkey, and her books.

bunny my honey.jpg

2. EM has recently started weekly playgroups. She’s discovered the joys of being in the driver’s seat.

chicken in car .jpg

3. It’s hard for EM to sit still. Her toys have taken over the main floor of our home.

chicken on a mission.jpg

4. EM is a typical toddler. She’s normally very well behaved. We can still have dinner out at nicer restaurants …

chicken at dinner.jpg

5. We have to remain cognizant of her bed time, or else:

im tired.jpg

6. EM is very independent. She loves discovering new things on her own. Who knew a chalkboard at the church hall could be so engaging?

chicken at chalkboard.jpg

7. EM loves hanging out with her mommy and daddy. The following two pictures were taken this morning, after the Divine Liturgy for Palm Sunday, in our church hall.

xine and chicken.jpg

dev and chicken.jpg


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Keeping House for Saints

In the countryside where my grandmother and her husband settled, the hills were littered with small chapels. After her husband died and before the onset of the Second World War, my grandmother would, in her spare time, visit the various homes of Saints. While she swept and cleaned these often-neglected holy spaces, her children would, always under the watchful eyes of Saints, play freely outside.

And so it was that my mother learned, early on, to associate the Church with open skies and the spontaneous laughter of children.

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List # 9 - Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Trembling :: Before God
  2. Shut up :: Black Eyed Peas
  3. Heights :: Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  4. Monica :: Santa Monica
  5. Delicious :: Del.icio.us
  6. Joint :: Woodworking
  7. Ferry :: BC Ferries
  8. Bliss :: Follow Your Bliss - Joseph Campbell
    If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.
  9. Rejection :: Slip
  10. Satisfying :: Curiosity

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